Monday, April 7, 2008

Grow Your Own For National Garden Month

April is National Garden Month and for the second year in a row, the National Garden Association (NGA) is emphasizing how important it is to eat locally, pointing out that one of the best ways to do this is by growing your own fruits and vegetables. Eating locally is not just one of the hottest trends around, but is an important part of environmental and economic sustainability.

Most produce travels thousands of miles by refrigerated truck to get to your local grocery store. Local eating eliminates the need for long distance transport reducing the amount of fossil fuel devoted to your food supply, it helps local growers and the local economy, and you will get the freshest and best tasting food around.

Gardening helps in reducing global warming and climate change. Growing organically is even better because it emphasizes building soil organic matter not only improves the plant health and growth, but also keeps carbon out of the atmosphere.

The NGA also suggests that you consider donating excess garden produce to those in need by growing extra vegetables in your garden this summer. As the NGA points out, it’s estimated that almost 33 million Americans (including 13 million children) resort to emergency food because they cannot afford to purchase the food they need.

They talk about using the Plant a Row for the Hungry Campaign. As they say on their site, "Plant a Row for the Hungry is a national campaign, sponsored by the Garden Writers Association, to help feed hungry families. The concept is simple. Plant extra produce in your garden and donate it to a local food shelf, shelter, or soup kitchen. It's a great way to help your community, and if you include your kids or grand kids, a valuable life lesson."

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